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IS ZERO-RATING HELPING OR PREVENTING DEVELOPMENT?

In less developed countries special deals between web giants and mobile phone carriers are causing increasing concerns about their long term results: will they drive development or kill local competition?

Zero-rating refers to partnerships between the major online content, service providers and local mobile network operators that give customers free access (“zero-rated”, at no charge) to text-only version of services such as Facebook, Google and Wikipedia.

Zero-rated services supporters argue this is a highly efficient way to lower the costs of access to information, increase general demand for internet access and attract investments in the sector.

On the other hand it's been stressed that zero-rating agreements imply mobile phone carriers operate content and service discrimination to foster their partners; in doing so, many questions whether giving this preferential treatment actually realize a constraint to nascent local competition.

The Center for Democracy and Technology - an NGO whose mission is to promote an open, innovative and free internet - is leading a preliminary research to assess the relation among zero-rating, broadband development and internet adoption in less developed countries; the CDT aims to set policy recommendations for zero-rating partnerships to follow so to win one important battle in order to protect net neutrality and fight digital divide.

 

The gLAWcal Team

LIBEAC project

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

(Source: Knight News Challenge)

This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.